Alan Smithee

The Comedy – Review

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The-Comedy-movie-poster-Sundance-2012It’s rare, very rare, for me to have moments when I’m watching a film that cause me to pause it mid-play, take a breath, mutter an expletive, and remind myself that it’s a movie…not real life.

When I stated above that it’s very rare, I mean that in the context of the hundreds if not thousands of movies I’ve seen, it’s a short list of probably four or five. The closest example would be the first time I watched Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling.

I hated that movie. I really fucking hated that movie because of the feelings it stirred up within me. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a beating. However, this isn’t a review of that film, but I felt you needed some context.

I can’t begin to guess what exactly the message behind The Comedy may be, but I can’t recall the last time that I felt feelings for such a reprehensible character. The main role in the film (Swanson) is aptly portrayed by Tim Heidecker, a trust-fund hipsterish thirty-something barreling towards his forties in the company of his other WASP-trash friends living their days in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The film is a chronicling of his misadventures and deeds, which at first had me wanting to pass the movie off as a ‘hipsters gone mild’ comedy…but as I started to see more and more of Swanson and what he was trying to do, I had to give up my more laid back position and assume what I like to call my Rodin pose as it’s reminiscent of his famous sculpture. I was enthralled by every moment.

I can’t really consider anything I write here as a spoiler but if you’re the type that doesn’t want to know what may be coming up, please skip the rest of the review.

Whether it be Swanson being a complete asshole to his friends, an asshole to a nurse who is tending over his invalid father, pretending to be a landscaper, bribing a taxi driver to let him drive around, being an asshole to his sister-in-law, or going into a bar where he’s obviously the odd man out and says stuff that made me squirm in my seat, he’s a reprehensible human being. But I can’t help but admire and love his character.

It’s only in a few scenes in this movie do you get to the very heart at what I believe director Rick Alverson was trying to show us. That being unhappy, unattended, and somewhat rich children become cynical, bored, and sarcastic adults that drink terrible beer, ride vintage bicycles, and have a general disdain for living in the real world.

This is completely apparent by Swanson’s choices in employment, the man obviously doesn’t need to work nor does he have any idea whatsoever about struggle. To him, a job is a social camouflage that affords him his ability to quietly rage against the ‘man’, a way if you will to say “I know what you mean,” when he is among real people.

I can’t emphasize how much I cared for this film. It was for me a very context sensitive movie that gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it, so bravo to Mr. Alverson for directing it that way. This movie will test you, it will engage you, and I’m not lying when I say that you will forge a love/hate relationship with Swanson from the moment you lay eyes on him…but if you have the patience to stick out this amazing piece of cinema you’ll be treated to two scenes near the end where you just might let out a few choice curse words and a smile or two, especially the ending.

Go watch this movie now if you are a fan of movies that don’t tie things up neatly in a bow. If you’re a fan of movies that deal with real life items, that make you genuinely uncomfortable in your own skin at parts…this is for you. However, if you aren’t the type to watch ‘artsy’ movies, give this a pass even if you love everything that Heidecker/Wareheim do normally.

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